Monday, July 26, 2010

Fish Fabulous

I really didn't want to knit those baby socks as I mentioned so sweetly in my last blog post. I tripped across the Fish Hat (Dead or Alive) from Knitty and knew immediately that I had to make it. It is one of the fastest things I've ever knit. I started on Tuesday and was finished Saturday night and I know I missed a couple of days of knitting in between.

I dug through my stash Tuesday morning before heading to work and found some great remnants of sock yarn and they all worked so perfectly. Cast on at knitting on Tuesday night.

I could not have been happier with how it turned out if I'd spent hours scouring yarn shops for the perfect yarns. I went into the project with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised with how great the yarn combo worked.

The finishing touch though are the eyes. I found sew on eyes at Jo Ann's after much digging. I knew the stick on kind would be a choking hazard. I attached them sitting in the car between church and the shower. But not while I was driving or even sitting in traffic. I was sitting in the CVS parking lot.

My pattern notes. I cast on the pattern recommended 90 stitches, but in sock yarn so it was baby sized. I knit the hat 4" from the longest part of the lips before starting to decrease. I used a beanie decrease for a rounded top. That meant more decreases in each row and more frequent decrease rows.

Decrease as follows:
K4, K2T
K3, K2T
K2, K2T
until I was close to 22. I had to fudge the last decrease row to end up with 22 stitches.

For whatever reason my tail did not turn out. I definitely did something wrong, but I didn't have time to try to figure it out. It was Saturday night and there were three fins still to add. I improvised by sewing the two tail pieces together and moved on. That is the one thing I could have had time to make right.

The fins are ingenious and I love that they are knit on. No sewing!

I plan to make an adult version of this, possible for our work Dirty Santa gift exchange. I'll stick a Starbucks card in for good measure, but I know there are some people who will like it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

About to Throw a Knitter's Fit

Look out, because I'm about to throw a temper tantrum.

I am so tired (stomp) of knitting (stomp) that feels obligated (stomp). I want to knit (stomp) what I want to knit (stomp) when I want to knit it (stomp, stomp).

This past weekend, I bought two lovely skeins of Brooks Farm Yarn Solo Silk at the Knitting Fairy's new store in Grand Prairie, TX. BFY doesn't name their colorways, but this is definitely inspired by the colors of fall in a place like New Hampshire. The colors range from a dab of green, to red, orange and then fades into a blotch of brown. It covers the whole leaf peeping season. I really wanted to start knitting a project with this yarn right away.

But, I have a pair of socks I need to finish for a baby shower this weekend. I'm almost done with one sock. :-\

I thought I might knit a lace shawl for my MOM from the BFY because she and I visited NH twice during leap peeping season. A very special memory. I looked all weekend for a meaningful pattern. I love it when the stitch pattern symbolizes something special between the knitter and the recipient. I finally decided that what I really need to do is finish the project I have going for her now. For whatever reason, that project has kicked and screamed it's way along. The ridiculous thing is the Orchid Emperor has great meaning. My MOM is a quilter. She made DH and I a grandmother's fan quilt as our wedding gift. The stitch patterns in the Orchid Emperor pattern reminded me of the quilt. Quite meaningful. So why am I hating knitting it so much?

I'm using a Sundara yarn for the Orchid Emperor. I'm not really keen on the color, but as we knitters know, Sundara is a highly sought after yarn, so you must love the recipient very much to give them a gift of Sundara. These two skeins were my first Sundara. This is a very special gift. It means a lot to give it to my MOM. I would hate for MOM to know how much I'm NOT enjoying knitting this project.

To make it worse, I recently took a break and knit Travelling Woman in Cascade Heritage sock yarn. A pretty run of the mill yarn as yarn goes. Nice, but not Sundara or Wollmeise. I loved the pattern, the yarn was great and the project was a dream. I finished it and literally thought, "is that it? I'm done already?" That made it just that much more difficult to go back to the drudgery of the socks and the orchid shawl.I will persevere. The recipient of the baby socks is one person I can count on to truly appreciate them. That makes finishing them that much more rewarding.

Of course, MOM will love her shawl. And I've already showed it to her so she knows it's coming. She would probably understand if I decided not to finish it, but the pattern does have great significance. It is perfect and the yarn is Sundara. I'll finish it, kicking and screaming back the whole way.

My reward for finishing these two projects will be to knit any project I want out of any yarn I want. Now to decide what that's going to be.